Nine games filled the week 16 schedule in D2M, with both Conference leaders grabbing valuable wins to keep the chasing pack at bay.
Newcastle held off a strong start from visitors Charnwood to keep their lead at the top of the Northern Conference. Charnwood came out firing from the start and took a 10 point lead after the first quarter, but Newcastle regrouped in the second with a commanding 30 points to give themselves the advantage at half time. Charnwood finished the fourth quarter strongly but the league leaders had already done enough for the win.
Blaize Sagna had given the visitors a chance with his 25 point, 18 rebound double-double but a 37-point haul from Thomas Horvat saw him improve on his 31 point performance last week and keep the hosts moving along nicely at the top of the table.
Myerscough keep the pressure on Newcastle with an 84-71 road win at Bristol Hurricanes. A dominant first quarter saw the visitors score 27 points to the Hurricanes' 12, which the hosts struggled to recover from. Great Osobor's 19 points for Myerscough was matched by the Hurricanes' Lukas Motiejunas, but it was the former's side who came out on top and headed home with the win.
Manchester Magic climbed above Charnwood into third spot with a 76-68 home win against Birmingham Elite. Luke Gordos' 25 points helped Magic on their way to a third straight win.
Derbyshire Spartans needed overtime to win a thrilling contest on the road to Bristol Academy Flyers, 95-88. Spartans were 10 points down going into the fourth quarter before Martins Bulans tied things with two seconds left on the clock. The visitors rallied to get the overtime win, with a 31 points score from Ashley Ugo proving vital for Spartans.
University of Chester enjoyed a convincing 100-51 win against bottom side Sheffield Hallam University to sit level with fourth placed Charnwood. Isaac Ray had a productive evening with 25 points to compound the visitors to an 11th defeat this season.
In the Southern Conference, Cardiff Met Archers made it two wins in a row to climb off the bottom of the table with a 93-79 win over London Greenhouse Pioneers. Yonathan Napoleon did hit an impressive 34 points, 13 rebound double-double for the visitors, but 23 points from Panagiotis Karras helped his side on their way to the win to cap off a great two weeks for Archers.
Ipswich kept their hold on second place with a 82-66 win over East London All Stars. Luke Mascall-Wright's 31 points along with Ethan Price's 18 points, 13 rebound double-double made sure that the 23 points tally from the visitor's Viktor Telecky would be in vain.
Sussex Bears dropped to the bottom of the Southern Conference after a 88-54 defeat on the road to London BC Medelynas. It was a convincing start to the year for the hosts who returned to the court for the first time since 14 December, while a third defeat in a row has proved costly for Bears.
Finally, Essex Rebels kept their four-point cushion at the top of the Southern Conference with an 84-73 win at home to Greenwich Titans. Arturo Noha Pascual did hit 25 points for Titans but a strong 28-point first quarter for Rebels set them up nicely for the game.
5:00pm - Cardiff Met Archers 93 - 79 London Greenhouse Pioneers - LIVE STATS
5:15pm - Bristol Academy Flyers 88 - 95 Derbyshire Spartans - LIVE STATS
5:30pm Bristol Hurricanes 71 - 84 Myerscough College - LIVE STATS
5:30pm - Ipswich 82 - 66 East London All Stars - LIVE STATS
6:00pm - University of Chester 100 - 52 Sheffield Hallam University - LIVE STATS
6:00pm - London BC Medelynas 88 - 54 Sussex Bears - LIVE STATS
6:30pm - Manchester Magic 76 - 68 Team Birmingham Elite - LIVE STATS
7:00pm - Team Newcastle University 87 - 80 Charnwood College Riders - LIVE STATS
7:00pm - Essex Rebels 84 - 73 Greenwich Titans - LIVE STATS
The stakes are starting to be raised as club's head towards the season's finishing stretch, with a number of important games in week 17.
On Saturday, Northern leaders Team Newcastle face a hefty road trip to play Bristol Hurricanes, whilst Southern top dogs Essex are also on their travels in Solent.
Sheffield Hallam will look for their first win of the season as they entertain Manchester, Charnwood welcome Birmingham Elite and Derbyshire Spartans entertain University of Chester.
Also on Saturday, London Westside head to Sussex Bears and London BC MEdelynas have a home game against Greenwich Titans.
Sunday contains four games, with a few teams in double header action. Derbyshire Arrows take on high flying Manchester Magic, Greenwich Titans face London Greenhouse Pioneers, East London All Stars match up against BC Medelynas, and Ipswich welcome a resurgent Cardiff Met Archers.
Main image credit - B.East Photography